People pass posters of left-leaning presidential candidate Alexander van der Bellen in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
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Austrians' desire to stay in the European Union outweighed concerns over immigration and security and helped former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen defeat his far-right rival Norbert Hofer in Sunday's presidential election.Hofer, whose Freedom Party (FPO) is anti-immigrant and euroskeptic, had suggested at one point in the campaign that Austrians could vote within months on whether to follow Britain out of the EU, though he later rowed back from the comments.The FPO now says it favors Austria's continued membership of the EU but says they would seek a referendum on the issue if the bloc became more "centralized" or if Turkey joined the EU – a very unlikely prospect any time soon.Underlining its wariness on the issue of the EU, the FPO quickly distanced itself just before Sunday's election from comments by Nigel Farage, former leader of the anti-EU U.K. Independence Party and veteran supporter of Brexit.Farage said he expected Hofer would push for a similar referendum in Austria if he became president.
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